The Smart Home Device the Utility Companies Don't Want You to Know About

Magdalena Munao | October 25, 2019 | Home & Real Estate


The NeoVolta NV14 is one of the latest home energy storage solutions that offer protection against utility pricing schemes and crippling power outages. The system features a safe and long-lasting lithium iron phosphate battery and a very high-capacity inverter.

With so many homeowners switching to solar, utility companies are losing billions in potential profits. California’s nearly one million solar systems produce more than 19% of the state’s total electricity—enough energy to power 6,512,367 homes.

So it should come as no surprise that utilities nationwide have been waging war on residential solar through aggressive lobbying and bogus fees and energy pricing schemes.

Until recently there was little consumers could do to fight back… But advancements in battery technology now make it possible and cost effective to store solar energy produced during the day for use at night. Better yet, the federal government and the state of California are willing to pay consumers for installing battery energy storage.

But first let’s look at how homes with solar are compensated for the energy they produce.

Home Solar and “Time of Use” Pricing

Besides making a better tomorrow, one of the big selling points of home solar has been the concept of net metering: When a solar installation generates more power than the household uses, you get to sell it back to the utility company at the retail price for electricity. Now that pricing structure is changing.

In the old days, your monthly electric bill went like this: The more you used, the more you paid. With the new Time of Use billing plans rolling out in California and many other places, it’s not how much you use but when you use it. The price of electricity fluctuates during the day: cheaper in the morning and afternoon, more expensive during peak hours in the evening. Those hours generally run from 4:00 to 9:00 pm, the time when most of us come home and fire up the appliances. The price of electricity can actually double during peak hours.

Under Time of Use pricing, solar customers draw from the grid when the sun goes down, right during peak-price hours. When the sun is shining and those rooftop panels are generating electricity, the utilities are paying low off-peak prices for it. And this is how Time of Use pricing takes money away from solar customers.

Beating the Utilities at Their Own Game: Solar + Storage

So how do homeowners reap the benefits of solar without getting squeezed by the utilities? The answer is solar + storage. Pairing a rooftop installation with battery storage allows you to keep the energy your panels produce during the day and use it to power your home after dark, during on-peak hours. Or you can send that excess power back to the grid and receive peak price for it. Home solar batteries are about the size of a cupboard and can be installed indoors or outdoors.

Another attraction of solar batteries is reducing dependence on the grid. The infrastructure of the grid is aging badly and could cost trillions to modernize. Adding to the urgency of the situation are the widespread fire safety blackouts during summer wildfire season, which could potentially leave millions in the dark, interrupting livelihoods and potentially causing medical emergencies, and the looming threat of cyberattacks by foreign hackers.

Not reassuring. And when the grid goes down, just having solar panels on your roof won’t keep the lights on.

With solar + storage, your system will disconnect from the grid in the event of a blackout and continue powering critical household loads indefinitely. So home storage not only makes financial sense but also provides security and peace of mind.

Finding the Right Battery

Home energy storage is on the verge of going mainstream, with better and more affordable technology. California is even offering $830 million in cash rebates for installing solar storage. Still, it’s important to choose the right battery.

Lead-acid batteries are less expensive but have a short life span, require maintenance, and don’t discharge anywhere near 100% of their voltage. The better option is a lithium-based battery, and here again you have options: the more common lithium ion vs. the newer lithium iron phosphate technology.

Head to head, lithium iron phosphate offers clear advantages. Its superior thermal and chemical stability and non-toxic cells make it safer than lithium ion. It also has an extremely long life cycle. One of the latest lithium iron phosphate systems is the NeoVolta NV14 battery energy storage system, which stands out for its safe, non-toxic battery that offers longer life and better performance in high temperatures. The NeoVolta smartphone app allows you to monitor the system’s performance 24/7, and it comes with a ten-year warranty.

The Bottom Line for Smart Home Solar

With federal and state rebates available, early adopters are being rewarded for making the move to home energy storage. This strategy provides them with a perfect hedge against utility rate schemes plus the security of blackout protection.

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